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  1. Developing relationships
About City

Developing relationships

Activity in development and alumni relations reveals a vibrant and supportive City community.

Developing relationshipsThe wellbeing of an institution can be measured in many ways, not least by testing the extent to which its vision is shared by the people from whose loyalty and enthusiasm we seek to draw strength. David Street, Director of Development & Alumni Relations, presents an overview of the work that took place during 2013 to enrich the lives of our students and engage our growing community around the world with our Vision to become a leading global University.

The Development & Alumni Relations Office supports City's current and future students by managing a wide range of relationships and working to secure help and financial support for the University. In 2013 this support amounted to just under £4 million, with more individuals than ever assisting us in the form of donations and by volunteering their time.

Expanding our alumni network

In today's technologically and culturally interconnected world, our former staff and students play crucial roles in sustaining and propagating the values of the University. At present, we are in touch with 94,000 alumni spread across 202 countries. Each year a range of events is organised, some by the University and many by alumni themselves. 2013 saw 117 events held throughout the world, with well over 3,500 attendees. During May, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cass Business School, an Alumni World Forum was held at various locations and was supported by 950 former Business Shool students. Many of those who attended an event also supported the University financially through the Annual Fund and by giving their time to help current students.

Mentoring Scheme provides a template for success

The Annual Fund provides support for students through scholarships, bursaries and in other ways, including our Professional Mentoring Scheme, which pairs students with inspirational individuals working in highly competitive industries, such as business, journalism and the arts. Mentors guide students through the difficulties of early professional development with a view to increasing their employability. In the past, this has led to work placement and internship opportunities and sometimes even the offer of a job. Students also gain the confidence to tackle the challenges ahead, be they examination planning, job hunting or simply coping with life through and after University. In 2011/12, 85 pairs of mentors and mentees took part in the programme. In 2012/13 this was increased to 200 pairs and in 2013/14, the final number of pairs is expected to be over 300.

The scheme helps City hold its place as one of the highest ranking universities for graduate employment in the UK and enables strong relationships to be built between current student and our extensive alumni community.

A generous response to City's call for support

In an uplifting demonstration of support for their alma mater, City alumni pledged a total of £72,000 during 2013's annual telephone campaign. Donations were made to the City Future Fund and the Cass Fund, which offer support to students in the form of scholarships, bursaries, volunteering opportunities and participation in the Professional Mentoring Scheme.

A team of students callers spoke to more than 1,400 alumni during the campaign in November. In addition to making donations, alumni spoke to students about their industries and professions, gave careers advice, offered to check their CVs and, in some cases, even offered internships. The results demonstrate the warm regard in which the University is held by former students and bodes well for the future.

A proportion of the donations made by alumni will be used to help talented students continue their studies with a scholarship. These are designed to help students who are experiencing financial difficulty continue with their studies at City, or to give ambitious students unique careers opportunities. For those who excel academically but otherwise could not afford a university degree, this support can be life changing.

I would almost certainly not have been able to fund my studies without your aid. I am the first in my family to go to university and I intend to work hard, do my best and achieve as much as possible throughout my studies, in order to gain my Midwifery degree. I thank you for your kind support and sincerely express my gratitude.

BSc (Hons) Midwifery student Jodie King was a City Future Fund Scholarship recipient in 2013.

Securing the future through grants and scholarships

Many former students supported named scholarships during the year, working with staff from the Development & Alumni Relations Office to select the disciplines they would like to support and to shape their contribution to match the needs of individual students. This usually leads to a meeting with recipients at an annual events and lasting friendships have been established.

We are also deeply indebted to those trusts and foundations, Livery Companies and companies that support the University through grants for specific programmes, which help to provide support for research that will benefit society. One such project is the 'Changing Behaviours - Changing Futures' programme led by Professor Victoria Joffe, one of the UK's leading specialist speech and language therapists and Professor of Developmental Speech, Language and Communication Impairments in the School of Health Sciences. Victoria's work includes evidence-based practice in speech and language therapy and she provides training for therapists and teaching staff working with children and young adults with speech, language and communication need. The Changing Behaviours campaign will seek to provide more funding to enable this outstanding work to continue and grow.

The Olive Tree Programme was another potentially life-changing initiative to receive essential financial support during 2013. This unique programme allows Israeli and Palestinian students to undertake undergraduate study at City while participating in a parallel programme of dialogue. It is proving to be of great interest to individuals, trusts and foundations and is another striking example of how focused fundraising is helping City to continue to change lives.

Thank you to all of the alumni, friends and staff who supported us in 2013.

David Street
Director, Development & Alumni Relations